Shirley Murphy passed away Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the age of 89.
Shirley was born September 30, 1928 in Handley, Texas to Earl and Lois Edna (Rhodes) Gee. Growing up with siblings Earl Wallace Gee, Meredith Wayne Gee, and Charles Milton Gee in Rockdale, Texas, her childhood was filled with music. Her father Earl played the fiddle. When all the musicians came over to play, they would tell Shirley, “Why don’t you go outside and play, baby” because she couldn’t carry a tune, although she did have rhythm and could dance. Her three brothers learned to fear her strength. As a child, she used to hide her bonnet under the culvert on the way to school and then hunt snakes on the way home.
Shirley didn’t like to follow the rules, and began breaking them as a girl in school. The teachers split the boys and girls for PE, but Shirley got bored with what the girls were doing. She rode the principal’s daughter’s horse through the schoolhouse while the girl held the door open. Shirley never liked to be told she couldn’t do something. They told her she couldn’t fly a plane; she flew one. She could out-shoot and out-fish most men and was good with a knife – which a few unfortunate men found out the hard way. Shirley’s motto was, “If you can’t eat it, drink it, or screw it, piss on it!” She lived life big. Her strength and tenacity carried her family through difficult times again and again.
Though she had been married before, Shirley met the love of her life in 1973 in Willis, Texas. She was temporarily working at a café when God’s Divine plan sent Bob Murphy in for breakfast and he stayed for lunch. Every day for almost a year he asked her to marry him, but she told him she wouldn’t be a good wife. She wanted to do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, and answer to no one. Bob promised he would never expect her to change. They were married August 22, 1974 in Laredo, Texas by an officiate Shirley nicknamed “Speedy Gonzales.” Her brother Charles, his wife Evelyn, and Doug and Kay Gorman were in attendance at the wedding. Several years later while cooking Thanksgiving dinner for more than twenty people, she set out coffee and cornflakes for Bob for breakfast. He came in and teasingly said, “I thought I’d have a western omelet today.” Shirley said, “If you want a hot meal, set your cornflakes on fire,” and threw a box of matches at him.
Shirley worked in the restaurant business and in catering. She enjoyed her work, and in her later years would often tell wait staff tricks on how to earn more tips. Shirley was involved in the women’s ministry and the senior adult group at the Hi-Way Tabernacle Assembly of God Church. The greatest day of her life was the day she accepted Jesus as her savior. She loved the Lord, spoke of His word to anyone she met, and believed strongly in the power of prayer. Since Shirley was well known for her barbeque, every time her church had a fundraiser or get together, they wanted her to barbeque for them. In her free time, Shirley loved hunting and fishing, collecting rocks, and oil painting. She was a pack rat with an obsession with lids. She could never throw them away.
Although Shirley was never able to have children, that never stopped her from being a mama to so many. She adopted three children during her first marriage and gained two more when she married Bob. She never referred to them as “step-children,” they were hers. She and Bob adopted a baby girl together in 1978. Through the years, Shirley and Bob “adopted” many sons and daughters. Often referred to as “Daddy Bob” or “Honey Bob” and “Granama” or “Mama Shirley,” their door and their hearts were always open. Shirley was devoted to her family and to the Lord. She was the rock that everyone clung to. All of her children came to Mama for advice and counsel. She often said, “Trust in the Lord; it’s always going to be okay.” She was also known for being a great storyteller. She had a story that fit whatever circumstance came. One of her favorite sayings was, “A little powder and paint will make a girl what she ain’t!” She always had time, a cup of coffee, and a shoulder to cry on. You never doubted you were loved because she made sure you knew it.
Shirley leaves behind countless children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and many friends to mourn her loss. She is joyfully reunited with her beloved husband Bob, her mother, father, brothers, and two daughters.
To honor Shirley’s life, a visitation will be held from 4 to 6pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at Hillier Funeral Home of College Station. A Celebration of Life will be held at Hillier Funeral home of College Station on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 6pm with a reception to follow in the Heritage Room.